In recent years, youth gang or street gang violence has become more lethal, largely due to the use of sophisticated firearms. Youth gang members are generally older than they were two or three decades ago; although, the age of introduction to the gang may be somewhat earlier. Delinquent and criminal youth gangs and gang members appear to be more prevalent, and they are developing in almost all states and territories of the country, especially cities of all sizes and suburban areas.
Like other cities in the Southeastern United States, the City of Jacksonville has seen an increase in gang activity in the past several years. The main gang related activity in Jacksonville appears to be centered on the sale and distribution of narcotics. The Jacksonville Police Department has identified criminal/delinquent gangs within their jurisdictions, or suspect the emergence of such gangs and has developed short- and long-termed objectives and plans of action regarding this problem.
In order to effectively combat the problem of gangs, the Jacksonville Police Department would like to develop multiple strategies. These include, in addition to traditional proactive suppression, mobilization of community interest and action as regards the problem, social intervention, opportunities provision, and the development of appropriate organizational mechanisms or delivery systems to carry out these strategies.
Here are some resources to help provide insight as to why some youth join gangs, as well as how to recognize and prevent gang involvement:
- Parents' Guide to Gangs - A guide designed to provide parents with answers to common questions about gangs to enable them to recognize and prevent gang involvement (PDF)
- Why Youth Join Gangs (video)
Resources provided by the National Gang Center